Replacing elastic in Flip diaper covers & converting aplix (velcro) tosnap closures

*** 03/07/2019 This post has been updated with more advice! Check out 'When "doodie" calls' for updated information!***

I did it!! I've been stalking the inter-webs, all the facebook diaper and sewing groups and I finally decided to just bite the bullet and try and replace the elastic in my Flip covers.  I found plenty of advice in written form and a few blogs touched on this subject but I failed to find anything that described, step by step, how to do this.  As an avid crafter, I was intimidated to just do it, after all this is my diaper “stash”…you never want to mess that up!! But we are getting leaks on our 18 mo around the legs where the original elastic had relaxed sooo much…so while my mom was here visiting, I dove in.  We took half my stash (6 covers, yes we only use 12 covers) and went to work.  My recommendation is to do smaller batches…life and kids get in the way and unless you have a huge stash, I think working on 1-3 a week or every wash (we wash twice a week) will get you where you need to be in a fair amount of time.  I also had three Aplix covers that were in bad shape that I had intended to replace with snaps last summer (it was such a easy process I wonder why I waited so long).

So here is my picture laden tutorial of replacing the elastic in your diaper covers, specifically the Cotton Babies FLIP brand. Followed by a quick tutortial on replacing Aplix with snaps.

Replacing Elastic
What you will need:
- Cover to fix, freshly washed (no one wants to work on a dirty diaper) I pulled aside a few every time I washed until I had replaced them all
- Seam ripper
- Saftey pin(s)
- New ¼” braided elastic 
- Polyester thread
- Ball point needle installed on your       sewing machine
- Pins

Start out by feeling where the end of the elastic is sewn in the casing of the leg of the cover.  It's not as high up as I thought, usually it was about level with the bottom of the ripstop they use in the inside of the diapers.  I started ripping the stitches out here.  When you find the end of the elastic you want to open up the casing at least an inch in both directions from that point. I found the bigger the hole, the easier it was to work with when sewing in the new elastic and sewing the casing back down.




Once you've opened up your casing on all four ends of the elastic start ripping out the stitching from the elastic being sewn down.  Most of mine were a mess of stitches...take your time and be careful to avoid ripping the PUL or making a hole. (But if you do it’s okay, just sew the new elastic above where the hole is so there is unnecessary pulling on it when you're all done and it should be okay!)


I should mention there are a few ideas on the best way to do this…some people do not remove the stitching from the elastic and choose to instead cut the elastic (leaving the sewn ends in the diaper).  I choose to fully remove the elastic and stitching because I did not want the bulk, and I'm very type A and like to do things “right”. Having said that, if you're looking for the fastest way, this would certainly give several minutes of your life back.  Another tip is to safety pin the new elastic to the old, then just pull through…I didn't find this to save much time either way.  I ended up just taking out the old elastic completely and using the ‘ole safety pin as a bodkin method…worked just fine.

Once you have your old, relaxed elastic out it’s time to replace it with the new elastic! Cut your new elastic to 5”, other have suggested 4.5”, I knew I would be sewing/tacking down the elastic at each end for about ¼” so the 5” worked fine for me.  You can adjust as needed.  

Place the elastic about where the old elastic was.  If the PUL looks worn, or has holes from the old stitching just place the elastic a little further up, or above where the other elastic was tacked.  

Pin in place.  

Change your sewing machine needle to a ballpoint needle.  Using a zigzag stitch tack down the elastic, going forward and backwards a few times.  You want to make sure that you have pulled the casing as far away from the needle/pressed foot as possible to avoid accidentally catching it in your stitches (this is why I recommend taking out at least 2” of the casing seam).  



Once you have one end tacked down you can feed the loose end through the casing with your trusty safety pin.  Again pin the other side of the elastic to the diaper.  Push the extra fabric from the casing as far as you can toward the sewn end to avoid dealing with gathered fabric.  Sew just like before.

Once you've done this to all four elastic ends you're ready to resew your casings!

Pull your diaper to redistribute the fabric of the casing evenly over the new elastic.  Stretch your casing back over the elastic, check both sides to make sure it will cover the elastic when sewn.  Pin. Pin. Pin.  Sew close to the edge of the casing, you can often start a few stitches prior to where you opened the seam up and use the factory stitches as a guide.  Remove the pins as you sew and stretch the diaper as you go.  Make sure to back stitch when you start and stop and sew with the outside of the diaper up, facing you.



Check to make sure you grabbed both sides (inside and out of the diaper) of the casing.  Often, even if I had pinned somewhere, I didn’t catch the back and had to resew.  I was worried that this would look terrible (that and the fact that I just used white thread), but the fact is, you can't really see the thread when you're done and you can't see the stitches in the places I went over more then once either!

Ta-da!!! Your diaper is re-elasticized!! I'm so impressed! No more leaks on baby girl! I won't Iie….I found parts of this process to be irritating and there were many swear words muttered and yelled when learning to to this, but I now have a “new” stash of Flips, which kept me from buying new diapers, and wasting perfectly good ones (now with new elastic) and isn't that what cloth diapering is about for some of us? Saving money and the earth;)

Check out the difference! Top is newly replaced, bottom is a year OTB and relaxed.


Converting Aplix to Snaps


What you will need:
- Freshly laundered diaper cover
- Snaps, for the FLIP covers you need 20 female sided snaps and 4 male snaps
- Snap pliers or press
- Snap placement template (the template I used can be found at http://prefold2fitted.blogspot.com/2013/03/flip-style-diaper-cover.html)
- Pencil
- Seam ripper

Print the pattern from the link listed above.  I used a hole punch to punch out the snap centers so I could use this as a template for my snap placement.

Take your seam ripper and remove all the Aplix from the diaper, careful to not rip any holes in the PUL. 

Laying your template over the now aplix free diaper and mark the center of each snap on the front and wings of your diaper with your pencil.

 

Take your awl (should have come with your plier set) and punch through from the front to the back where you marked your first snap.  Make sure to only punch through the first layer of the diaper not the second layer of PUL used to form the pocket. I also found it helpful to work in rows, starting with the bottom most row.  This allows you to mush the fabric into the pliers when needed.  I also recommend placing all the prongs in the row you are working on then, adding the female sockets.  Believe it or not, this can shave some substantial time off your project.


  

Then I clip the tip of each prong with a set of fingernail clippers.  I learned this tip from watching several social media boards and it really payed off. I installed 40+ snaps perfectly.  There was no extra plastic in the center of the snap, and I only cracked one snap from over muscling the pliers.  

 

Add your sockets and press with with pliers one by one.


I also found that it isn't necessary to get the snap pliers only on the layer you're pressing.  It worked just as well to press with the second layer of PUL in the pliers as well.



Add your second row of prongs, then sockets…

Add your four wing snaps, remembering to use the male socket this time and to place the socket on the inside of the diaper, so it will marry up with the female socket when closed. 



A note on snaps and pliers:

I have only used, until now, project metal snaps on all my projects.  I was so nervous to use the plastic snaps because quiet honestly, metal snaps are a pain, but this was a BREEZE! I used the Babyville pliers and snaps from JoAnn’s. I know a lot of people rave about Kam snaps and if I were doing a larger project would have certainly tried them.  The Babyville set worked well and I have zero complaints about them.  

I hope this has helped anyone who might have had questions about replacing your elastic and/or converting aplix to snaps! Happy cloth diapering mamas!!!


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